iHeartMedia to Acquire Triton Digital From Scripps

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Wednesday, Feb 17, 2021 8:53 AM EST | Anne Steele

iHeartMedia to Acquire Triton Digital From Scripps

iHeartMedia to Acquire Triton Digital From Scripps

Deal for audio advertising analytics and measurement services bolsters radio giant’s bet on podcasting

iHeartMedia Inc. IHRT -0.60% has agreed to acquire E.W. Scripps Co. SSP 0.34% ’s Triton Digital for $230 million in a deal that will give the radio giant a full slate of audio advertising technology and measurement capabilities as it builds out its podcast business.

The biggest U.S. radio broadcaster has been working to expand its digital, streaming and on-demand business, and launched its bigger bet on podcasting in 2018 with its acquisition of Stuff Media LLC.

Triton—founded in 2006 and purchased by Scripps in 2018 from private-equity firm Vector Capital for $150 million—provides publishers advertising infrastructure and measurement tools, including distribution for digital-audio streams and podcasts, while dynamically inserting ads based on who is listening and audience tracking. It also operates a marketplace for buying and selling digital ads using automated technology, which will help iHeart expand its offerings to the long tail of smaller, self-service ad buyers. Triton, whose customers include broadcasters, podcasters, and online music services in more than 50 countries, will continue to service clients outside of iHeart.

Podcasting has grown quickly over the past five years, and players in the space are vying for listeners and for increasing advertising revenue. The medium now attracts more than 100 million monthly active listeners, according to Edison Research.

The migration of listeners to on-demand audio, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, has sparked an arms race among major media and tech players, including Spotify Technology SA, Inc. and Sirius XM Holdings Inc. U.S. ad revenue from podcasts is projected to exceed $1 billion this year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

iHeart said the combination of its own data and Triton’s will help the company build better tools to understand and reach audiences across broadcast, on-demand, digital streaming and podcasting.

“They’re looking for audiences, they’re looking for impact, they’re looking for attribution, they want to measure,” said iHeart chief executive Bob Pittman about digital advertisers. “People have run out of time for their eyeballs. In audio it’s clear people still have time for their ears—cooking, working in the yard, driving to work.”

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